GENEVA – The Geneva Council for Rights and Justice (GCRJ) called on the Iraqi parliament to withdraw the legislation on cybercrime law because of the restrictions and severe penalties that strengthen the dictatorship, repression and violate public rights.
GCRJ, an international human rights organization, said in a press statement that the persistence of such legislation represents a consecration of the authority of dictatorship and repression. It imposes the will of power on people by force.
The Council said that such a law will suppress journalists and bloggers by establishing a powerful political media that would have the highest authority and voice in the country.
The Iraqi parliament presents the law for the first time last week in order to be read again during the next sessions to be approved later.
The law includes clauses imposing penalties and fines and the possibility of interpretation of texts according to specific intention, which will make any publication or information published on media or on social media sites questionable to be held accountable, and subject to prison penalties and financial fines.
The law of informatics cybercrimes included 23 articles under various paragraphs, all of which provided penalties ranging from thirty years’ imprisonment to fines reach that could reach to 50 million Iraqi dinars. These sections focused on electronic information and made it dangerous and harmful to state security.
The law provides that any computer or set of connected devices, other electronic devices, data, software, systems and Internet service may be subjected to surveillance and the possibility of opening programs and messages stored in any device if there is suspicion of use or misleading and unrealistic facts. It includes them under the name of ” compromised national security and independence of the country”.
Geneva Council said that the fear of applicating the law, that the texts are loose and can be interpreted according to the political mood. It makes media and bloggers, and those who want their opinion as if they are terrorist organizations targeting the security of the state and its economy.
It added that the law in its current form threatens the freedom of opinion and expression, which requires the need to amend it before it becomes a binding law and ensure the security of journalists and human rights defenders in their work without being subjected to judicial harassment or imprisonment.
GCRJ stressed that the law should be redrafted to be a law dealing with crimes affecting state security, without affecting freedom of expression or placing government restrictions on public freedoms.